TOKiMONSTA Secret Show
The music I listen to with fervor seems to create a gravitational orbit around my life. An artist I was introduced to about seven months ago is LA native TOKiMONSTA, or Jennifer Lee. The first song that I heard was “Little Pleasures” and since that aurally spectacular moment, I was hooked. She has been finding her way into my ears consistently since last September as I have been delving deeper into her musical prowess. So it is only appropriate that at the peak of my TOKiMONSTA fandom, Ron tells me that she is playing a free and secret show in LA. It is a release party for her new album Half Shadows and reminiscent of the old school rave days, the location of the party is not announced until the day of. I quickly RSVP and the planning begins.
I begin asking around, looking for a crew to share this experience with. Naturally, Miles is the first person I call upon and he is unfortunately unable to join me. I continue down the line of friends and buckle down a solid Toki loving crew. It is the day before the event and Missy and I are finalizing plans which have become far more complicated than anticipated. I tell her that I wish Miles was coming and within ten minutes I receive a phone call from him stating that he does not in fact work and is in like Flynn. And the manifesting begins.
It is the day of and all of a sudden everyone is in like Flynn. Corey, Cuddy, Khoi, Chris, Jason and Myrissa all want to join and there are not enough plus ones. We also discover the day of, that there have been a greater number of RSVPs than wristbands available. The first 500 people to meet at the Tokidoki store in Santa Monica by 5pm will receive wristbands and are also given directions to the secret location. During prime commute traffic with no guarantee of success and faith in our hearts, we mob it like a hobbit to the Tokidoki store, trusting in our power of manifestation that we will soon be groovin’ to the delicious sounds of TOKiMONSTA.
Corey, Cuddy, Miles and I are the first ones of our crew to arrive at the store. As Corey circles the block, Miles and I get our wristbands. I ask the young lady in charge if we can pick up our friend’s wristbands and she casually obliges. With no record of how many pluses per guest, I toss out some numbers as she hands over the goods. Suddenly it’s raining wristbands. Originally, I had no one to go with and an overabundance of wristbands. Then, we had too many people going and not enough wristbands. Now everyone is accounted for and we have extra wristbands to boot. The power of manifestation is as real as Big Foot (that is, real if you believe it to be real).
Outside an unassuming warehouse, the tribe assembles. Ron, Jason, Niki, Missy, Miles, Myrissa, Khoi, Corey, Chris and Cuddy are all sippin’ on Sailor and chewin’ gum in the street. Every wrist is banded as we enter the violet hued warehouse. The white walls are painted with undulating lights and the gaping space is peppered with LA’s finest counter-cultural youths. The humble stage is backed with morphing fractals and the most sacred of geometries, projected onto the tall wall. A giant white rabbit is hopping about. The bar consists of coolers and folding tables. As we mix and mingle, frolic and fraternize, we enjoy the sounds of Clicks & Whistles and MNDR.
Standing outside on the smoking patio, I start to get that fuzzy feeling in my heart chakra. It starts as a tiny tingly atom in my chest until it bursts into a supernova of warmth that spreads from face to phalange. With suddenness I exclaim, “I’ma go to the front!” and dart inside. I find a nice little dancing nook between the stage and speakers. DJ MNDR drops a mantra that repeats “everybody up to the front.” When I dance, my physical body abdicates itself to my astral body, the vessel for my desires and emotions. It’s as if I’ve been turned inside out and I am wearing my soul as a suit. Soon the rest of the tribe joins me in the nook as we roll out with our soul out.
We are all in front as TOKiMONSTA begins her set. Gavin Turek, the voice of Toki’s songs, comes out stage center, her crotch fully in Missy’s face. She affectionately pats Cuddy on the head who is almost eye to eye with her. Miles and Cuddy swiftly hop over the stage and decide they are more comfortable standing on the side with Niki and Ron. A little sad they left us, Missy notices my disappointment and says, “don’t worry, now there’s more space for us to dance!” The setting is so intimate that there is no bad view. As expected, TOKiMONSTA does not disappoint. When she drops my favorite track, “The World is Ours,” I become a slave to the beat. I relinquish all control to the great puppeteer that is music as it moves my body and limbs with grace and precision. I feel power and virility coursing through my veins, sweat and sexuality oozing from my pores. I succumb to my astral body, making vicious love to the music in plain sight, too enamored to care.
Meanwhile on stage right, Niki asks Miles to take a photo of Toki (probably for this very blog) as he is gifted with height. Barely leaning on the stage, he feels an aggressive hand pull him down with some harsh words along the lines of “get the fuck off my stage” being shouted. Adrenaline immediately rushing through his body, his id takes over. A heated altercation ensues and Miles is in the process of being escorted out. When this process is interrupted, Miles stealthily hooks around through the crowd and evades what could have been the end of his night. As his mind settles and his energy is centered, he chooses to rectify the situation instead of escape it. He seeks out the instigator and apologizes, saying that he would love to stay and respectfully enjoy the rest of the evening. Not only does the man appreciate the apology and let him stay, he buys Miles a drink to solidify their peace. Discovering that the man’s name is Lewis and he is the owner of the warehouse, all is forgiven and the show goes on. More than just a fun adventure, tonight was a momentous moment for Miles as he slayed a personal demon.
As we all reunite on the smoking patio, Miles tells me his triumphant tale. Too involved in his story, I barely react when Missy comes running up, shining her phone in my face with a photo of her and Skrillex displayed. “I just met Skrillex! I just met Skrillex!” she shouts, almost hyperventilating, as she skips off. With one last session as TOKiMONSTA closes out her set with some trap and even a Jimi Hendrix remix, we all dance out with our buns out. Sweaty and ready, we gather the troups and head back to Costa Mesa. The car ride home flies by as we sing our hearts out to the Beatles White Album and a little Flaming Lips too. When we return home, Cuddy alphabetizes my entire vinyl collection for two hours. I’m not sure how to weave that into the story but felt that it was worthy of mention.
A night out with my Good Vibe Tribe is never just a night out. Tonight was a night of fate and the power of manifestation, of the universe bringing me closer to achieving my goals, of love and friendship, of triumph and mind over matter, of losing yourself to the magic of music and dance, and of faith and belief that wishes do come true if you make it so. Most importantly, though, it was a night of savoring the company of the most magnetic people I’ve ever met who constantly remind me that the world is ours.